Monthly Archives: September 2006

Pumpkin Faces In The Night

I know I am about a month or so early for a topic such as this, but I thought that I would post something quick about Hallowe’en as it has been on my mind for the last few days. A good friend and I recently disagreed on this subject, and as I re-read an article by James Jordan that shaped my thinking on this, I thought I would share it.
I have to admit, I don’t know as much about Hallowe’en as an aspiring historian probably should. I think that it would be a very interesting historical study and maybe at some point (hopefully before having kids) I’ll dig into it a little. But from what I have read on the subject, and through conversation with Christians of both opinions, I am quite firm in the belief that Christians should not keep their kids from Hallowe’en activities.
Of course, I would be the last person to infringe upon a Christian’s liberty to not celebrate Hallowe’en, so this isn’t something that I would turn into an issue within my church. But I do feel quite strongly that Christian children have been wronged by well-meaning parents when they aren’t allowed any festivities on the Thirty-first of October. Thankfully many in the Reformed tradition who don’t agree that Hallowe’en should be celebrated by Christians at least celebrate Reformation Day.
James Jordan’s essay “Concerning Halloween” first appeared in Open Book: Views and Reviews 28 (Aug 1996) published by Biblical Horizons. Although it appears on their site, I’ve notice a couple of typos and have opted to link to the same article through the Ransom Fellowship site.
In the article Jordan removes any of the stereotypes that surround All Hallow’s Eve, including its Druid origins. Instead, Jordan reveals that Halloween is a distinctly Christian celebration of the kingdom of Heaven’s victory over evil in the cross of Jesus Christ. So, instead of it being a celebration of evil, as most suppose, it is actually a celebration of the Supreme Good.
It is a short article, so it doesn’t go into as much detail as I may like, but I do find it helpful and would recommend it to anyone who wonders if they should take their kids out at the end of next month. If I had kids, I know I would!
Tim Challies’ post from last year is very helpful as well, highlighting some of the community oriented aspects of Hallowe’en that provide an excellent opportunity for Christians to get to know their neighbours.


Filed under church history, ethics, halloween, tim challies

More on the conference

Josh over at Son of Man was at the conference this weekend as well and has plenty of good things to say about it:

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Sola Scriptura Conference

This past weekend Vicky and I attended the annual Sola Scriptura Toronto conference. The speakers were Bruce Waltke, Derek Thomas and James White. The topic had to do with issues in hermeneutics. All in all, I thought it was a great conference. We both had a great time, although it was a lot of work for us. Myself, Vicky and students from TBS were volunteers and worked quite a bit, missing some parts of the lectures.
Highlights for me included both of Dr. Waltke’s lectures (interpreting the Psalms and interpreting OT narrative). They were absolutely phenomenal, both in terms of content and delivery. Although he wasn’t as dynamic as Dr. Thomas, who in my opinion is one of the best preachers around, Dr. Waltke went above and beyond my expectations.
Another highlight included the opportunity we volunteers had to have lunch with Derek Thomas and Bruce Waltke. What a delight to hear these men so used of God recollect stories of their teaching experiences. It was a treasure indeed.
Derek Thomas had accidentally left his lecture notes at home in Jackson, Miss., so he had to wing much of his lectures. Both were excellent, especially the last one on interpreting apocalyptic literature. In particular when he preached an overview of Revelation. I must admit that you could tell that he had to scrounge together his notes from memory in his first lecture on the Spirit and hermeneutics. But I didn’t mind, it was still great.
I did feel, however, that Dr. White rambled quite a bit. Admittedly, I did miss much of his lectures due to work, but from what I gather, his lectures weren’t quite relevant to his topic of postmodernism and hermeneutics. I’ve seen Dr. White speak before and have thought the same thing. He is an outstanding debater and a great radio commentator and author, but I haven’t really enjoyed him as a lecturer. I do, however, thank God for him for the work he has done in the kingdom.

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TBS Student Picture

I just saw this on the TBS homepage. It is the group picture we took on registration day. Looks like a smart group, eh?


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Van Til is Definitely My Homie

Well….now I know what I would like for Christmas (notice I didn’t say “want” mom?). I don’t think shirts could get any cooler than this. I could alternate between it and my Johnny Cash shirt.
Somebody, please order this for me!!!!!!!! You can do so here: CafePress.


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Preston Jones Ain’t Doug Jones

I was somewhat disappointed with a recent article that my pastor, Christian, sent to me via email. It comes from Christianity Today and is written by Preston Jones, professor of history at John Brown University. The article is entitled “Lessons from a Punker PhD” and is about the interchange that he had with punk rock singer Greg Graffin of the band Bad Religion. They co-authored a book of their email correspondence recently called Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant? (IVP), that I hope to pick up. Not only is Greg Graffin a singer, but he also has a PhD in biology from Cornell University and is an atheist.
The article starts off alright, discussing the emails back and forth, and the impact that it had on Preston’s faith. He refers to naturalism as having more bark than bite. But if this is so, why does he allow the naturalists to sway him into belief in evolutionary theory? If he doesn’t outright believe it, then why make statements like: “I really think that Christians need to get over being hung up on evolution, mainly because it seems to have happened, and because there’s nothing anti-God about it. And our theologians need to face the implications of evolution for how we think about the Fall and providence, among other things.”
Nothing anti-God? That’s a bit of a shallow statement from one who teaches history at the university level! But of course not taking the first chapters of Genesis seriously really doesn’t make room for anyone to be riled up over a worldview that takes Genesis to task does it?
Reading the article made me think, “What would Doug Jones have said to Greg Graffin? And what would he have said to Preston Jones?” I think Jones would have blasted Graffin out of the water by telling him that his atheistic, naturalist worldview can’t account for the very scientific task that he partakes in. And he would have blasted Preston for having discarded the fundamental Christian belief of biblical inspiration, authority and sufficiency. Preston didn’t recognise the antithesis between he and Graffin, and he allowed Graffin and other naturalists to set the agenda. By doing so, he gave up the fight before it even started.
To see a Jones in action who proved to be a better defender of the faith, see these articles in Antithesis and magazine that Doug Jones edited and contributed to. Hopefully Preston’ll check them out too and go for another round with Dr. Graffin. But not debate him of course, we wouldn’t want to scare ole Greg away.
Is Non-Christian Thought Justifiable? (Jones’ interchange with atheist philosophers Keith Parsons and Michael Martin)
Is Christianity Non-Intelligible? (Jones’ review of atheist George Smith’s The Case Against God)

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Tea Time

Well, with school and a lack of an internet connection, blogging has been neglected for the past month. With the coming of wireless to my laptop, my hope is to remedy the lack of blogging, if even to a lesser degree.
This semester I am taking five classes: Theological Latin, Greek Syntax, Puritan and Evangelical Spirituality, Pastoral Leadership and Contemporary Theology 1. The latter is a correspondence course through The Institute of Theological Studies and the lectures are by John Feinberg, it spans the period from Hegel to the “death of God” theologies.
So, lots of reading and homework to do!
This past weekend my friend and fellow Holy Word Church member, Lynn, held a high tea at her house. It was great. She works at the Canadian Club which is located at the Fairmont/Royal York and does catering for tonnes of special events in Toronto. The high tea was very posh to say the least. I’m posting some pictures to make your mouths water. We had amazing pastries, finger sandwiches (wasabi and salmon, turkey and guacamoli, egg salad, etc.), and a large variety of teas from across the globe. And the ever funny Paul managed to bring a burger from Lick’s with him.


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